MORNING RUSH: news, sport, weather, traffic and online buzz

Don't forget to refresh the page for updates. Got a traffic tip? How about an up-coming event? Would love your feedback - email espillett@fairfaxmedia.com.au

8.30am That's it from us this morning. Have a lovely day. See you tomorrow!

8.28am The team at Mudcat Wollongong have just whipped up some pumpkin scones. Yum. I can almost smell them!

8.26am LOCAL NEWS: Humans aren't the only species who enjoy a good sunbake in spring – snakes love the warm weather too. This time of year is prime snake spotting season with WIRES Illawarra fielding up to 60 calls a month for help with rogue slitherers.

*Here's the full story.

8.24am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Wasps have built a perfectly cross-sectioned hive in a man's window in the US. Work of art, yes. Stinging hazard, most definitely.

8.22am NATIONAL: Tony Abbott has signalled his conviction that a referendum recognising indigenous Australians is more likely to succeed if it is "spiritually ambitious" but legally conservative.

8.20am MOVIE NEWS: Teenage Mutant Ninjas Turtles dominated the Australian box office over the weekend, with the "heroes in a half-shell" destroying any competition to easily seize the top spot. (SMH)

8.18am TV NEWS: Ellen & comedian Kristen Wiig have sung Frozen hit Let It Go on Ellen's show but, um, they don't really know the words. Very funny.

8.16am STRANGE BUT TRUE: An LA woman has admitted to pranking a couple, in the hope of driving them away from their home as she wanted to buy it. Crazy town!

8.14am LOCAL NEWS: There are no mummies or crystal skulls but the archaeological excavation of the former Oxford Tavern site in Wollongong is uncovering some interesting finds.

*Reporter Bree Fuller has the full story here.

8.12am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Iggy Azalea's high school yearbook photo has turned up online. It wasn't that long ago that she was just a teenager called Amethyst Kelly. NB no wonder she went with Iggy!

8.10am WORLD NEWS: The heaviest fighting in a series of truce violations in Ukraine's restive east strained the tenuous 10-day-old cease-fire between the Kiev government and pro-Russian separatists, with both sides blaming the other yesterday for attacks that included the shelling of residential buildings.

8.08am TRAFFIC ALERT - Corrimal: Memorial Drive is closed southbound at Rothery St due to that earlier two-car accident. Traffic is heavy & diversions are in place.

8.07am TV NEWS: Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a pop-up Central Perk in Soho in NYC. It's open to the public. Very cool!

8.06am NATIONAL: Fast-food giant McDonald's has vowed to take caged eggs off the menu within three years, following sustained pressure from animal rights activists. The company also gave a commitment to be transparent with customers about where its eggs came from in the future.

8.04am Have you got your tickets to The Wharf Revue yet? It opens tomorrow night at the IPAC. Grab your seats quick!

8.02am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A woman has been blasted for breast-feeding her baby on a busy Melbourne train. Read on...

8am Anybody else struggling to get motivated to go to the gym?

7.58am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a cloudy day with isolated showers & a top of 23 degrees. There is a chance of thunderstorms. That earlier accident @ Corrimal is still causing headaches. All good on the roads.

7.56am The humble beetroot is having a bit of a moment. Here's how to cook 'em.

7.54am LOCAL NEWS: He's been driving trucks for more than half a century but Brian Stewart is happy to let his wife, Helen, behind the wheel after hours.

*Reporter Glen Humphries has the story.

7.52am Respected journalist Peter Harvey would have been 70 today.

7.50am TRAFFIC ALERT - Corrimal: one of two southbound lanes is closed on Memorial Drive at Rothery St due to a two car accident. Traffic is heavy & lights are flashing yellow, expect delays.

7.48am LOCAL SPORT: Wolves defender Michael Robinson capped off another solid year in defence with selection in the NPL NSW Premier League men's 1 team of the year.

7.46am In some other movie news this morning, the trailer for the latest Hunger Games film is OUT. Watch it below - can't wait!

7.44am NSW: Some highly skilled scientists and project leaders at the CSIRO are being kept from their research to clean laboratories, write promotional material, sort mail and refill photocopiers after government budget cuts and a efficiency drive that have forced the departure of 100 support staff. (SMH)

7.42am The Great Clothing Swap is on this Saturday at Balgownie Village Community Centre from 1pm. Bring your threads & swap them!

7.40am MOVIE NEWS: Benedict Cumberbatch's film The Imitation Game has won the Grolsch People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, cementing its status as an Oscar-season front-runner.

7.38am The team at Jervis Bay's Dolphin Watch Cruises spotted six humpback whales near Crocodile Head yesterday. Awesome! They also saw more than 50 dolphins & two large pods of bottle-nose dolphins.

7.36am LOCAL NEWS: The State Government has confirmed it won’t intervene in the construction of the Shellharbour City Hub and has handed the matter back to local council for debate.

*Here's the full story.

7.34am NSW: Researchers have stumbled across rare albino wallaroos living around Mount Panorama in Bathurst. Maybe they just like car racing?

7.32am TIARA ALERT: Prince Harry celebrated his 30th birthday yesterday. Cheers to the prince who loves to have a good time! Bet his 30th was WILD...

7.30am STRANGE BUT TRUE: If you missed this one yesterday, a hospital in Melbourne has removed a tumour inside a 10-year-old goldfish. Yep, a goldfish. He was very beloved. He'll now live for another 20 years, doctors claim.

7.28am WORLD NEWS: The naked bodies of two British tourists have been found on a Thai beach, sparking a murder probe on resort island Koh Tao.

7.26am TV NEWS: Have you been watching The Block Glasshouse? I have to admit, it's not my thing, but here's a recap if you missed last night's ep.

7.24am Apparently there's a lot of blue bottles on Shellharbour & Warilla beaches this morning. Have you spotted them?

7.22am Things are really heating up for Hillary Clinton. She's going to be a grandma & she's adding fuel to the fire about the 2016 presidential race.

7.20am SPORT: Brett Morris has requested a release from the final year of his contract with St George Illawarra to join Canterbury as a decision to allow the flyer to test his market value may backfire on the Dragons.

7.18am TECH TALK: Ordered an iPhone 6? Be prepared to wait for it - Apple said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new phone after a record 4 million first-day pre-orders were logged. (SMH)

7.16am Have you voted in our Shoot the Hairdresser competition yet? View entries & vote on your favourite snap here.

7.14am MOVIE NEWS: Denzel Washington has a new flick. The Equaliser is in cinemas on Sept 25. 

7.12am There are SO many diets out there now - between the 5:2, the Paleo diet & quitting sugar, it's enough to make me quit life. Those clever clogs at the SMH have road-tested some popular diets - here are the results.

7.10am WORLD NEWS: Spy photographs obtained by Fairfax reveal China is building artificial islands on reefs in disputed areas of the South China Sea.

7.08am Looking to whip up something truly delicious this weekend? Try these recipes for mouth-watering meals. They look AMAZING.

7.06am LOCAL NEWS: An Illawarra man who claims he was paid to masturbate in front of Wollongong dentist Arthur Bosanquet, under the false pretense of taking part in a university study, has admitted he felt "grotty" afterwards but says he believed the study was legitimate, a court has heard.

*Court reporter Shannon Tonkin has the story.

7.04am Don't forget the Phoenix Theatre's production of It's A Lovely War is on again this weekend. Tix available via their website.

7.02am NSW: Labor is offering bipartisan support for the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use in NSW and promises to take the policy to next year's election if the government does not change the law beforehand.

7am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Kim Kardashian got up close & personal with a koala at the Australian Zoo in QLD yesterday.

6.58am Good morning Illawarra! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a cloudy day with isolated showers & a top of 23 degrees. There is a chance of thunderstorms so keep the brolly handy. All good on the roads & rail.

6.56am NATIONAL: Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has moved to lock in the International Court of Justice's decision against Japan's Antarctic kill, in the first global summit on whaling since Australia's win.

6.54am Speaking of small, fluffy animals, look at these little duckies getting married. Oh so cute!

6.52am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A Pizza Hut in Melbourne has come under fire for offering a free small, fluffy animal with every 10 pizzas bought. WHA? Oh dear lord. When marketing goes bad...

6.50am MUSIC NEWS: Australian rapper Illy says he was hit by a glass during a performance in a Victorian town on Saturday, prompting him to end the show.

6.48am A game of peek-a-boo turned into a bit of a fail for this dad after he decided to shave his beard off mid-game. His little girl DID NOT react well.

6.46am LOCAL NEWS: A respected Austinmer veterinarian has joined the Wollongong Dog Community group in a fight to save the northern Illawarra's off-leash dog beaches.

*Reporter Bree Fuller has the story.

6.44am SPORT: Oscar Pistorius will be free to compete for South Africa again, as long as his running doesn't go against the ruling of the judge.

6.42am The guys at Three Chimneys have been baking - and these pastries look bloody good. Oh yum.

6.40am LOCAL NEWS: The woman who sparked a police search after going missing off City Beach in Wollongong has been found safe and well in Sydney.

*Reporter Bree Fuller has the story.

6.38am: MUSIC NEWS: Robin Thicke has revealed he was high when he recorded hit single Blurred Lines. Of course he was.

6.34am: CELEB GOSS ALERT: Apparently Kanye West demanded a "barber's chair" during his Aussie tour. Hmmm.

6.30am NATIONAL: Tony Abbott has revealed Australians fighting with Islamic State terrorists would be among those targeted by Australian bombs when the full multinational air assault on the insurgents is launched in coming weeks.

6.28am STRANGE BUT TRUE: If you missed this one yesterday, the Colombian women's cycling team is causing a bit of a stir with their new uniforms. They make them look naked.

6.24am Remember your school formal? We do - check out our flashback gallery of school formals, classic!

6.22am NSW: The search continues for missing three-year-old William Tyrell, who disappeared from his grandmothers home's in Kendall on Friday.

6.20am STRANGE BUT TRUE: Always wanted a man servant? Well, now you can have one! A new app called Alfred lets normal people sign up to do tasks for you - and all for just $99 a month. Interesting...

6.18am CELEB NEWS: Home & Away star Ada Nicodemou has spoken out about the still birth of her son by sharing a touching poem. Read it below.

6.16am Have you got your tickets to see High School Musical yet? It opens at the end of the month at WHSPA. Grab your seats here.

6.15am WORLD NEWS: A Belgian murderer and rapist serving a life sentence is to be allowed to have doctors end his life following a ground-breaking ruling under laws in Belgium permitting people to request euthanasia.

6.14am LOCAL NEWS: The Shellharbour Workers' Club plans for a new leisure centre could have dashed any hopes Shellharbour residents had of a council-owned facility similar to ones in Kiama and Wollongong.

*Reporter Alex Arnold has the full story.

6.12am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Angelina Jolie has been spotted looking sporty & casual in shorts (!!) post-wedding to now-hubby Brad Pitt.

6.10am MUSIC NEWS: Angus & Julia Stone played at the Opera House last night  - and the review of the gig was less than complementary. Check it out.

6.08am WORLD NEWS: So, last night was the Miss America pageant. And the winner's talent? Playing cups. I give up.

6.06am And in national/world news, via the SMH:

*Teenager Aneri Patel was sitting waiting for a bus when she was struck and killed by an out-of-control vehicle in circumstances eerily similar to another fatal crash at the same spot in Sydney's south seven years ago.

*A group Australia first designated as a terrorist organisation in December 2005 - the PKK or the Kurdistan Workers Party - is working directly with the Kurdish Peshmergaforces that Australia and other Western nations are arming in northern Iraq in the fight against the Islamic State group.

*As many as 500 migrants could have died after traffickers rammed and sank their boat in the Mediterranean last week with another 200 missing in a separate incident, the International Organisation for Migration says, quoting survivors.

6.04am Here's what's making news in your Mercury today:

*A new method of handling development on the escarpment is "good news" for the environment, according to Wollongong Greens councillor George Takacs.

*It may not appear to be a happy marriage but for a team of University of Wollongong researchers and a Scarborough designer, the pairing of art and science has worked successfully.

*The ongoing debacle surrounding the naming of the new $39 million railway station at Dunmore has taken yet another twist.

6.02am Let's kick off the morning with the latest weather & traffic

WEATHER We're in for a cloudy day with isolated showers & a top of 23 degrees. There is a chance of thunderstorms so keep the brolly handy.

TRAFFIC All fine on our roads & for the drive to Sydney.

TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line.

6am Good morning Illawarra! Happy Tuesday, hope you're having a good week. Stay with your host, Emma Spillett, for all the latest news etc.

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